28.06.2024 Biznes

TGC Corporate Lawyers Legal review – June 2024

Newsletter – changes in regulations and interesting decisions. June 2024

Whistleblower Protection Act signed. Catalogue of violations without labour law

On 20 June, the President signed the Whistleblower Protection Act as amended by the Senate. During its meeting on 5 June, the Senate introduced amendments to the Act, including one that is particularly important from the point of view of both employees and employers.

Senators decided to remove from the catalogue of reported violations those concerning labour law. This means that whistleblowers will not be able to report to their employers violations of the provisions of the Labour Code, such as mobbing, discrimination or incorrect calculation of remuneration.

Despite this decision, employers who want to accept reports of labour law violations will still be able to do so. However, they will have to expand the catalogue of reported violations themselves in their internal procedures and on the basis of internal acts.

Whistleblower protection – new regulations for the common good

The primary goal of the new regulations is to provide protection for people reporting violations of the law, i.e. the so-called whistleblowers. This protection is intended to apply to all persons reporting violations of the law, regardless of the basis and form of employment or service. Notification will therefore be able to be made by an employee, former employee, officer, professional soldier, contractor, B2B cooperator, intern or volunteer.

The main assumptions of the Act under consideration include:

  • Protection of all persons reporting violations of the law, regardless of the form of employment;
  • Ensuring the confidentiality of the reporting person’s identity;
  • Reliable consideration of notifications;
  • Protection against dismissal and other forms of repression;
  • Possibility to pursue compensation claims in the event of damage incurred in connection with the notification.

The President signed the Act – the new regulations this fall already

The Sejm, in session on 14 June, passed the bill as proposed by the Senate, the President signed it on 20 June 2024, and it was published in the Journal of Laws on 24 June.

After the 3-month vacatio legis, whistleblowers will finally be able to benefit from legal protection. Employers, however, have to quickly implement new regulations in their organizations.

Learn more – read the article

Whistleblower protection – how to implement the provisions of the new Act?

Employers have little time to adapt to the new regulations. What obligations does the Whistleblower Protection Act impose on them and how to prepare for them?

Watch the recording of our free webinar during which we have explained what steps employers are obliged to take to ensure compliance with whistleblower protection regulations.

Learn more, watch the webinar recording

HR Breakfast: Whistleblowers protection

We would like also to invite you to participate in an HR breakfast, during which we will discuss the most important aspects of the new Act and how to prepare to comply with the obligations in this area. Participation in the event is free of charge.

9 July 2024, 10:00 – 11:30
Place: Contract Administration, Strzegomska 142A, Wrocław

Register now

See also: Whistleblowers’ protection – TGC law firm

eIDAS2 Regulation already in force. Benefits for business and economy

On 20 May 2024, eIDAS2 Regulation, which establishes the European Digital Identity Framework, came into force. This act, adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, extends the scope of the original act that has been in force for nearly 10 years, i.e. eIDAS Regulation, and adapts it to the current reality.

European Digital Identity Wallet (EDIW): convenience and security

The main novelty introduced by eIDAS2 Regulation is the European Digital Identity Wallet (EDIW), which will enable EU citizens and residents to securely store and share personal data and digital documents. EDIW will be available and interoperable throughout the European Union, which means that it will be recognized and accepted by each of the EU Member States.

Business benefits: more opportunities and simpler procedures

eIDAS2 Regulation has a potentially significant impact on business in the EU. Mutual recognition of electronic IDs issued by individual Member States will make it easier for businesses to establish cooperation with business partners from other EU countries, as well as easier access to new markets and better conditions for international expansion.

Increased security requirements and certification of trust services should contribute to increasing customer trust in digital services by increasing security assurance and proper protection of personal data.

eIDAS: challenges and the need to adapt

From a business perspective, eIDAS Regulation presents both challenges and opportunities.

On the one hand, businesses will have to adapt to new safety requirements and certification procedures, which may entail the need to invest in new technologies and training. On the other hand, the new regulations will give business an access to wider business opportunities and broader international cooperation.

Rapid adoption of new solutions and adaptation to new requirements can benefit from increased customer trust and simpler administrative procedures. The long-term objectives and impacts of eIDAS2 are to create a more integrated and secure digital market in the EU.

Learn more: read the article

Access to labour market by foreigners – proposal for a new law

The growing importance of economic migration and the need to ensure equal opportunities on the labour market for Polish citizens resulted in the need to draft a dedicated law. The new law on access of foreigners to the labour market will be beneficial both to Polish employees and foreigners who want to work legally in Poland.

The objectives of the bill on access to the labour market by foreigners are as follows:

  • Tightening the procedures for entrusting work to foreigners in order to reduce abuses and ensure the transparency of the process;
  • Full digitalization of proceedings, which will streamline and speed up the handling of applications and reduce the risk of errors and irregularities;
  • Reducing the backlog in dealing with matters by offices, which will ensure faster and more effective processing of applications;
  • Enhancing the integration of foreigners into the Polish labour market by facilitating their access to information, education and training.

Employment of foreigners – key changes

Access of Foreigners to the Labour Market Bill introduces a number of changes aimed at clarifying and supplementing the conditions for granting a work permit and accepting a declaration on entrusting work to a foreigner.

Key changes in the employment of foreigners:

  • Introduction of mandatory grounds for refusal of work permits: where the employer’s undertaking has been established or operates primarily to facilitate the entry of third-country nationals.
  • Establishment of additional conditions for granting a work permit: for newly established entities or entities using virtual offices.
  • Limiting the possibility of providing employees under the guise of employee outsourcing.
  • Replacing an ineffective ” market demand test” with a faster and more efficient procedure, to be used where appropriate.
  • Introducing clearer rules: providing flexibility for work permits and declarations on employment and pay conditions, while protecting the rights of foreigners.
  • Tougher sanctions for illegal employment of foreigners: the fine will be proportional to the number of illegally employed people.
  • Full digitalisation of administrative procedures: including submission of applications, collection of evidence, issuance of decisions, appeal proceedings.
  • Facilitating inspections: by introducing provisions allowing for effective inspections by the Border Guard and the National Labour Inspectorate.
  • Obligation to inform foreigners about their rights: employers will be obliged to inform foreigners about their rights in connection with their work and the possibility of associating in trade unions.
  • Integration programmes for foreigners: the project includes assistance in learning Polish and other forms of integration.

Learn more, read the article

See also how we can help, check out our services

Trademark and risk of confusion: CJEU judgment

According to a judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), registration of a trademark is possible if its use will not lead to unfair exploitation of the reputation or distinctiveness of another already registered mark. However, a case-by-case analysis should be conducted.

In May 2017, the German gym chain FitX applied to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) for the registration of the EU trademark ‘Tour de X’. The mark was to be used for clothing, footwear, games, toys, sports equipment, educational and entertainment services related to sports. The registration was opposed by the Société du Tour de France, owner of the famous Tour de France cycling race.

The case went to the Court of Justice of the European Union, which, in its judgment, ruled that the registration of the ‘Tour de X’ mark was permissible because:

  • there is some similarity between the marks, but it is not such as to give rise to a risk of consumer confusion.
  • the goods and services for which the “Tour de X” mark is applied for are different from those for which the Société du Tour de France marks are registered.
  • consumers are sufficiently informed and cautious to distinguish between the two marks.

The CJEU judgment is important for entrepreneurs who register trademarks because:

  • sets out the principles for assessing the risk of confusion in trademark registration.
  • stresses the importance of a case-by-case analysis.
  • shows that even certain similarities between marks do not necessarily preclude their registration.

We also encourage you to read about the issue of protecting Brands and Trademarks in the United States

Employing drivers – new rules already in force

On 17 June 2024, the provisions of the Act amending the Road Traffic Law and certain other acts came into force. Under the new regulations, any driver offering rides for a fee within all available applications must hold a Polish driving licence.

In order for a foreigner to obtain a Polish driving licence, it is required to stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland for at least 185 days in each calendar year. In addition, in the case of drivers from countries outside the European Union or EFTA countries, the legislator has introduced the requirement to pass a theoretical driving test.

The above-mentioned change in the law may not only make it impossible for foreigners to work, but may also increase prices, reduce the competitiveness of the transport services sector and negatively affect companies operating in this sector.

Trade unions with more rights – draft bill

The Commission’s draft amendment to the Trade Union Act, which has already received the opinion of professional and employers’ organisations, provides that trade union representatives will gain the right to request information from the employer on the use of AI to make decisions related to working conditions and pay or access to employment. This includes, in particular, information on the parameters, rules and instructions on which the AI algorithms used in the organisation are based.

The primary aim of the proposed amendments is to adapt the legislation to the increasing use of artificial intelligence in HR processes and systems for managing employees.

It should be noted that an AI Act is currently being worked on in the EU to comprehensively regulate the use of artificial intelligence.

Find out more about the AI Act, read the article

Webinar: ESG in your company – last call!

We invite companies that are subject to non-financial reporting obligations, as well as those that need to start it because their clients, partners or financial institutions require it, and all companies that seriously think about sustainability to participate in our ESG webinar.

During the event, you will learn, among other things, why ESG in your company should be thought of today. You will also learn about tools that automate ESG activities, provide reliable information and help companies become more environmentally friendly.

Learn more, register for the webinar!

Check also: ESG – sustainability advisory services

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